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Hypnotic Anatomy: What Makes Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s ‘Cure’ So Scary

“All the things that used to be inside of me… now they are all outside.”
Cure Horror
By  · Published on October 28th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at what makes the Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie Cure one of the scariest movies of all time.


Kenichi Takabe (Kôji Yakusho) is assigned to investigate a string of murders, each committed by different people but bearing unsettlingly similar hallmarks. Most prominently: an “X” carved into each victim’s neck. While they’re happy to confess, none of the murderers can explain why they did what they did. One thing unites the killers: contact with a stranger right before the murders took place. As the literal hypnotic rhythms of the case begin to take hold, Takabe finds his own volatile personal life bleeding over into the investigation and begins to fear that his own mental well-being has been compromised.

Written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the man behind another film often cited as one of the scariest films of all time, 2001’s Pulse, Cure is a terrifying watch, whether or not you consider it to be a horror film.

The video essay below unpacks some of the specific musculature that makes Cure so dang scary: from long takes to immersive sound design to a disfiguring manipulation of the ordinary into something predatory and evil. Kurosawa, it would seem, is trying to hypnotize us too.

Be warned. The following video essay contains significant visual and narrative spoilers for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure. Proceed with caution. 

Watch “‘Cure’ | Creating The Scariest Non-Horror Film”:


Who made this?

This video essay on why Cure is one of the scariest non-horror films ever made is by Spikima Movies, a Korean-Canadian who’s been dropping gems on YouTube since 2019. You can subscribe to Spikima’s channel for more incredible essays here. And you can follow them on Letterboxd here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).